Next week I have a friend bringing his Denafrips Terminator Plus to compare it to my Dave with its Sean Jacobs power supply and also my Mscaler.
By friend suggests using USB from the K50 to the T+ but says he thinks that a USB driver is required to be downloaded from the Denafrips web site and installed on the K50.
This all seems rather unlikely to me and the K50 has simply plugged into all other DACs I have tried without issue so I am wondering whether anyone uses a T+ with their K50 and whether it is a simple plug and play with USB or if there is any special procedure? I do see that the T+ accepts coax input and wonder whether we might not be better using that from the K50 rather than USB?
I would give I2S over HDMI a go with the Denafrips, I would imagine this to be superior to USB, but your feedback would be interesting.
It also apears that the Terminator Plus has 2x I2S on Ethernet, one LVDS - K50 compatible, and one LVCMOS - not K50 compatible.
No driver needed for the connection K50 to the USB input Denafrips Terminator Plus.
I do prefer the AES, have tried them all, USB is (for me) not the best SQ. I play flacs with max 24bits - 192 Khz and do not need the bandwidth of USB. Also the I2S is a bit more technical sounding then the AES. But USB is not recommendet (by me)
Hmmh … I have the upgraded Tplus (previously Terminator and standard Tplus) and do prefers usb connection to let Tplus do the conversion near its upgraded clock then to have my Antipodes CX/EX with presumably lower quality femto clock to do so via the P2 for any other digital connections with more transmitting and receiving electronic circuitries.
I do also have Denafrips Hermes DDC (previously Gaia) and it also sounded worse** via it and even i2s to Tplus with my Antipodes cx/ex which should be same with K50 unless K50 runs i2s natively instead of being converted like my case with P2
** Only lesser allo usb signature and Nuprime S1 sound better via Hermes but not the Antipodes stack.
I bought my Hermes/gaia for other sources to have it stripped of their clocks and synced them to the upgraded clock in my Tplus … namely, my beloved Bel Canto FM1 for local stations that max out at an unacceptable 64kbps to my ears.
Yes, it sounds better to me than having digital output of the FM1 directly to the Tplus.
It was really interesting. We started about 11am and finished at about 4pm.
I am of course completely biased in that I have honed my system around the Dave/Mscaler and that is the sound that I like so please take that into account for anything I say about the two DACs.
In general I think all those present thought that the Dave bass convincingly won the day both for its depth and also for its tightness and detail. The Terminator Plus & connected Gaia owner thought its midrange was better and I couldn’t possibly comment on that except to disagree!
I thought the Dave treble was more subtle and musical whereas the Terminator owner preferred its treble (I thought it was rather ‘insistent’ and drowned out the mid and bass).
Other guests thought that the Terminator had a more 3D presentation and described the Dave as being 2D. I thought it was the other way around.
One of the tracks we played (Holst Planets, Mars) has a distant snare drum and we all agreed that the Dave combination handled that particularly well to give it a sense of depth within the concert hall.
I think that the fairest summary was that at the end of the session each of us could understand why the supporters of the Dave preferred that and why the supporters of the Terminator plus preferred that. Out of the six of us present I dont think that anyone changed their mind about which one they preferred as a result of what they heard.
They both have pretty different presentations and setting aside my preferences and bias I would say that any K50 owner would be well advised to try both as one of them might very well be just the sound they are looking for.
The attached shows the kit we had assembled for the day which also includes one visitor’s DIY dac.
Also attached are details of the three tracks we used. Taken together they gave a really good insight into each of the dacs capabilities.